• 4. Patjantja
  • 4. Patjantja
  • 4. Patjantja

Bob Gibson

4. Patjantja

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'Mamaku ngurrangkatjanya nyitira. This big one. Patjantjanya. Kulkurtala this side. Mamaku, Nanaku, Tjamuku, Kurntiliku. One rock hole. Talingka. Ngaanya patjarnu ngaanpurinypa Kurnirnka patjarnu. Yuwa Kurnirnka patjarnu! That’s why ngurrangkatja nyitira. Mamaku ngurra. Palya. Tjukurlala otherside. Kulkurta kakarrata, kulkurta that way. Long way. Katjarra and Takuriku.Wala wingki nyitira. Puli, Tali, Lake. Wala wingki pirni. Yeah, he likes it. Pukulpa. Happy one. Pukultu palyara mamaku ngurra nyitira. paints his father’s Country. It is a big place – Patjantja. It is close to Kurlkurta. It is his Father’s, Grandmother’s, Grandfather’s and Auntie’s Country. There is a rock hole there, next to the sandhills. That place is where the Kurnirnka (native quoll/cat) was biting. That big story is why Bob paints that place. It is his Father’s country. OK, good. The other side of Tjukurla, east of Kulkurta. A long way. Katjarra and Takuri (Bob’s) Country. He paints really fast. Paints the rocks, and sandhills, and the lake. Working on lots of paintings fast. He likes painting. It makes him happy. It makes him happy to paint his Father’s Country'. Mary Gibson, Bob Gibson's Mother. Translated by Nerida Martin and Dr. Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis


Bob Gibson Tjungurrayi was born at Papunya in 1974, before moving with his family to the small community of Tjukurla during the outstation movement of the 1980s. This was a time when many Ngaanyatjarra people moved from government outposts near to Alice Springs back into the Western Desert to be closer to their ancestral homelands. Bob's mother, Mary Gibson, is also a leading Tjarlirli artist whose Country is at Kulkurta, deep in the Western Desert, while his father’s country was near Patjarr on the edge of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve. Bob began painting with Tjarlirli Art in 2007, and quickly founda unique rhythm and approach to mark-making; his style is characterised by bold colours and an inimitable freedom of movement, expressing ancient stories with contemporary flair. Bob is a vibrant character who is well loved within his community and provides support to many family members. He is a keen Sydney Swans supporter and loves listening to all music, especially the local bush bands. Looking at a Bob Gibson painting feels a little like spending time with the artist himself. Bob’s bold, playful presence in the studio is contagious; each canvas brings wild shapes and expressive lines met with decisive mark-making and confident realisation of country. His highly unique representations of Tjukurrpa (Dreaming stories) are an intersection of traditional storytelling and a spirited contemporary artistic practice. Bob's work is significant for the way it speaks to the complex layers and tensions between cultural, historical and modern influences, and challenges characterisations of what 'real' Aboriginal art looks like.

Tjarlirli Art and Kaltukatjara Art are two community-owned art centers located on either side of the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The Tjarlirli art centre is located in Tjukurla, a small community of around 50 people in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. Tjukurla was established here in the 1980s due to its proximity to extremely significant cultural sites and the ancestral homelands of community members. Nestled between sand dunes and the vast salt lake (Lake Hopkins). Kaltukatjara art centre is just across the border in the NPY Lands of the Northern Territory. Kaltukatjara (Docker River) community was established as a settlement in the 1960s and is now home to around 300 people. It lies along stunning mountain ranges and river beds.

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